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I think this is an everywhere thing. I have heard many women (lds and non-lds) talk to me about this very issue. So sad.

Or just a guy thing?

Definitely a sub-set of guys, kind of like the women out there who don't like short guys or ...

On the other hand, there are men who like smart women and are not willing to date poodles (from the comment: If I wanted to date something cute and brainless, I'd buy a poodle).

The real question is "are there idiots in the world?" Of course, since we are "children" of God ...

Sure men want to be needed, but that doesn't mean I wanted to marry an idiot! I wonder if some of this stems from the LDS emphasis on the man as the bacon-bringer?

"I the man need skills to earn money and provide for a family, but you the woman don't."
If so, I think it's an unintended effect, as President Hinckley has been quite vocal about women needing to get education and skills.

If the guy you're dating is the kind that needs to feel superior, he ain't the right kind of guy.

Frankly, I was always disappointed when I discovered that girls I was interested in had what I perceived as less challenging or less academic majors. (My wife graduated in molecular biology with a Chemistry emphasis and a French minor.)

This makes me sick to my stomach.

"Education can lead to women living at what Checketts calls her “highest and best use.”"

Leave it to BYU-I administrator to continue to reduce women to property. Best USE???

Although put me down for not taking people's dating preferences too seriously. Did the math thing really turn the guy off? It think it is more complicated. If she were smokin hot & moderately cool I think he would of persisted regardless of her gpa or major.

To the extent it is a real phenomenon, I think it can work to their advantage if they play it right. Get the guy thinking, "She's so smart--and she likes me?!"

I think it a people thing. When I was at BYU and you'd be at a dance or other such thing a common question was, "what is your major." As soon as I said physics, the voice would drop and there would be a certain look. So I started just saying English. (No offense to English majors)

I've heard this complaint a fair bit. But really, there is just a strain of anti-intellectualism in American culture. Not that many people would be intimidated by being a great football or basketball player. So why academics?

It may also be more of a western thing. I didn't find nearly the concern out east as out west.

I changed majors a lot at BYU, but at one time or another I was in physics, computer science, statistics, botany, accounting and information systems (I ended up opting for an undergrad in accounting and a master's in information systems). During most of my time at BYU I didn't date much. At the time, I got the impression sometimes that men didn't like that I was smart, although no one ever said anything explicit about it. (However, one time my married friends set me up with their friend and we went on a double date. They said that they thought the guy totally shut down after I told him I was planning to get a phd - I didn't notice, so maybe I'm a little obtuse.)

When I started my phd, I was in a ward with a lot of male phd students and suddenly my life was a dating frenzy. They loved that I was smart and within a year I started dating the man that I later married. All of the smart men that I knew in that ward have either married very smart women, or are still looking.

Looking back, I wish I had gotten involved in more honors classes/activities so that I could have met more smart men at BYU. I guess at the time I didn't realize that intellectual compatibility was important and I spent most of my emotional energy nursing crushes fueled entirely by hormones.

Is this a mormon thing? I don't think so - a couple of days ago, I was talking to a visiting professor at the university where I teach and he said "You probably make more than your husband, don't you?" (I answered 'yes') "I don't think of myself as sexist or anything, but I couldn't stand it if my wife made one dime more than me."

It is western culture--whether religious or not religious. See Maureen Dowd's columns and new book, Are Men Necessary, on the issue. I do not know whether it is cross-cultural.

I think this is true for many men and sadly, many Mormon men. I don't think it is so much a matter of intimidation as it is a desire to be somehow "superior." Sometimes it is age, height, world/life experience, "testimony" (for male RMs who won't date female RMs), money, or perceived intelligence.

Well, maybe it is intimidation, but I had always thought of it more as simply being uncomfortable with someone who seems "superior" in some way. I know many bonafide hot Mormon women who have not had a lot of luck getting married in part because they were percieved as intimidating or unmoldable. Certainly, this is not strictly a Mormon men thing, but it is more dissappointing when it happens with Mormon men.

Girls would usually say the same thing to me when I said I was a math major. Of course, I usually won them over with my witty Star Trek jokes, and ability to recite pi.

Some people are just naturally intimidating. Ind the dating world, few people deal well with issue based conversations. The more you have to explain things, the less easy dating can be. Perhaps this is because these explanations can be seen as dominating the relationship (at least in comparison to realtionships where such issues need less explanation). So I would guess it is just an avoidance issue where people try and maximize the amount of assumed data another can gather. After all getting to know a unique individual is rather difficult. Shared stories, heritage, and beliefs do make many aspects of relationships easier.

I did a paper on education and marriage. More educated women tend to marry at the same rate, but they tend to stay married longer. Their husbands also tend to make more money. These results get a little flaky at the doctorate level, where the women may well be less interested in getting married, but when they do it is typically to a very well educated man.

The reigning evidence suggests strong assortative mating-- you prefer to marry people who have the same amount of education as you (not less, not more). The study was based on the Census, so I have nothing particular to say about Mormons. But I would guess it shows the same patterns.

Chris, you were a physics major, weren't you?

Birds of a feather flock together.

Is this to say that math majors are automatically smarter than, say, English or Education or Art majors?

Or just that a certain type of man is intimidated by women who don't fit nice little stereotypes (women don't do math)?

I always thought a girl that could potentially handle my taxes was sexy ;)

Oh boy have I screwed up. I married a doctor and all I have is a puny BS degree!

I agree with RCH (#14). Math majors aren't necessarily smarter than English or Education majors, but the girls who study math are "discouraged" from pursuing careers that are math-based. There have been plenty of studies (sorry I can't site them) that involve girls and math. The "math-smart" (and "science-smart") girls not only are called on less in math and science classes by their teachers starting from grade school (and thus discouraging them), but many girls who start out on the fast track for math and science tend to drop out and channel themselves towards the humanities at about the 11th grade. This makes the prevalence of women in math and science majors less when a guy gets to University. Maybe it then seems abnormal and weird, and I think culturally we send the message that "girls shouldn't be here." With the church's traditional view of men and women's gender roles, for LDS males this is perhaps an affront to what constitutes a "good" woman, but I think the overall stereotype of men not wanting a wife who is smarter or makes more money is definitely a guy thing (culturally) and not limited to Mormons.

Also (sorry so long), getting higher education like a PhD or masters has more to do with the character of the individual (how driven or goal-oriented they are), as opposed to how "smart" they are. IMO.

This has happened to me all the time. I was a political science major in undergrad and I'm in law school now. I can't tell you how badly it freaks guys out when I start talking about historical Supreme Court decisions or current events or debate issues of politics or law. Especially if I know more about the subject than them. Rather than asking questions or saying I don't understand, they just withdraw from the coversation and act like I'm crazy. I've been told several times that I'm intimidating because I'm "too smart."

It seems that those of both sexes who consider themselves as "smart" would be bored or dissatisfied with a "lesser" being. It is better to admit the bias by no longer being interested than to continue a charade.

When I was dating, I was told I was intimidating because I was too smart. One girl cited this as the reasons for dumping me.

And I'm a guy. It's a people thing, not a guy thing.

(Though, having a wife who is slightly taller than I am, I am a bit amused by the number of really tall mormon men with rather short wives).

Maybe if you replied with -- "I'm a math major, and I think my knowledge will be important when teaching my children" -- he might stick around longer. So maybe the guy thinks that you won't want to stay at home when the children are born, if you are pursuing a high potential major. It's not right to judge that, but I'm sure it happens.

P.S. My wife makes twice as much me. So what!

P.P.S. My wife is an executive, but we both agree now that it would have been better if she would have stayed at home more when the children were young. But my career didn't work out like I planned, and we needed the money.

When I was at BYU I felt that when I told boys that I was going to grad school when I graduated it was like they all turned and run. Well, not all of them. I found that boys from places like the east coast who were LDS but not raised in LDS Utah culture were not as scared off by women with brains and ambitions. I think that some of it is just cultural. I ended up marrying a man from Utah but he was from a divorced family so he saw the value of educated smart women with the ability to make good money if she needed to.

I think intelligence might be a stand-in for something else. On average, I'd say that obviously bright women studying things like math, physics, or engineering or whatever are much more likely to want to postpone childbearing and to continue with their careers at the expense of mothering. I think its rational for men to use the one as a proxy for the other, unless they can find information to the contrary. So for an obviously bright woman, obvious signaling behavior like taking English might be a good idea. If not, some other kind of signaling might be necessary.

Or, if the bright woman really is pretty interested in a career, she's just going to have to accept that some men are less keen on her because of her intelligence and others because of her plans, and that all her railing in the world won't change it, nor should it.

It is not always men in our culture who are uncomfortable when we mention the words "graduate program", it can be the women as well. At times I feel like a pariah among the women in my own ward because I don't have children yet and am working towards my masters in creative writing and literature. When I talk about the things I have a passion for, they just look at me and smile and pretend that I said something interesting about scrapbooking. My husband, who is getting a PhD in electrical engineering, seems to be one of the few who have totally supported my personal choices, and that's all that matters, right?!

LDS women sometimes are the vanguard in discouraging other LDS women from developing themselves in the more competitive and career-driven fields. When my wife and I were close to our marriage date, the wife of a former bishop of her took it upon herself to advise my wife to drop her plans and goals for medical school.

"When I talk about the things I have a passion for, they just look at me and smile and pretend that I said something interesting about scrapbooking."


I will limit this observation to BYU, because, let's face it, BYU is not an ordinary environment.

I have seen MANY times a little male-female getting-to-know-you chat abrubtly end when the woman actually had a post-graduate plan. It might have been graduate school, it might have been moving to Europe, it might have been joining Peace Corps, but somehow, the male decided that marked the end of the need to know this girl.

Why? It seemed that being a girl with plans was problematic; she coudln't change them if they dated and fell in love. He needed to find someone who could just follow him around.

But really, what should a girl do? Plan to get married and do whatever hypothetical husband wanted? Not a great plan when chances are high hypothetical husband will not appear.

I was a part of a discussion recently in which several people who had graduated from BYU some years ago were talking. One female was still unmarried and her married male friend expressed surprise that she WANTED to get married and have kids. "I always thought you wanted to be single. You always had plans."

That's my point about signaling in a nutshell. Some significant percentage of girls who are planning on joining the Peace Corps are set on it. So if a girl is open to marriage and children as an alternative to her post-graduate plans, she should let potential suitors know.

Signaling is indeed important, Adam, but what about if a young BYU girl doesn't know a guy well enough to be sure whether she'd be interested in him. She may not be sure what she wants to signal.

Thinking back to my time at BYU, if it's the first day of French class, the orthodox RM hottie next to me might very well ask me my name, how much French I've had, whether I've been to France, whether I plan to go. If as to future plans, I say "yes, I hope to get an internship there after graduation," it may be that I can forget dating him, ever. If I say "gosh, I don't know, not anytime soon of course, since I'm really hoping to get married and stay home with babies as soon as I meet the right guy [bat eyelashes, toss hair], but maybe my future husband and I will be blessed to serve a mission there together after the kids are grown," then he will almost certainly ask me out and think I'm really spiritual and really interested in him. What pressure to have to decide in that instant which way I want things to go!

I always said the former (and my internship turned out to be quite successful and a lot of fun), and was surprised to find that some guys took it as a challenge to sway me from my plans. So I did date, despite being smart and having plans.

Besides, the Peace Corps is only a couple of years. Even if she is set on it, even if she does go through with it, if it's love ... he'll wait, right? Or perhaps go with her; Peace Corps volunteers can be married. A Buddhist friend of mine married his true love last Sunday rather than lose her for two years due to her commitment to the Peace Corps. The two of them are going to have a blast in Senegal.

I am currently a BYU student in Provo and a math major. I feel that guys are definitely intimidated by that. I am usually ok with that though because just like they may not want to date someone smarter than them, I don't want to date someone dumber than me.

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