To celebrate the small bout of fortunate weather, my friends and I congregated on our rooftop for crisp rosé and easy chatter. A few rounds in, our topic of conversation slowly turned to my girlfriend’s on-again-off-again boyfriend. They were currently Back On.
“He’s just, like, so handsome and into me and I have nothing else going on at the moment, so…” her voice trailed. The rest of us looked at our half-practical, half-pathetic friend in puzzlement.
We understood the guy she was seeing was certainly agreeable, but we never thought she’d value looks over intellect. Especially since she herself was exceptionally brilliant.
Sloshed, talkative, opinionated and feeling Housewife-y (save for a few choice males), we started in on the classic debate on why it is much more desirable to date someone who is magnificently intelligent rather than magnificently attractive.
After both witnessing and partaking in a plethora of dating experiences during our arguably most shallow stage of life (ages 18-29?), I (and many wizened women and men before me) have come to the personal conclusion that it is so, so much better to date someone who is incredibly smart than someone who incredibly good-looking.
Perhaps I’m partial to my own kind (insert shameless self-promotion here), or perhaps it actually is true (though an argument can be made for both sides, I suppose). Regardless, a keen personality will keep you at the table longer than a face that eventually grows tired.
Before I lose the attention of all the Chippendale models and Kris Humphries, I’m not saying that the two traits are mutually exclusive or that you can only have one.
I’d rather an extraordinarily stunning mind than an extraordinarily stunning man. A mind can challenge you in ways that looks can’t.
A mind goes deeper than the surface-level of physical attractiveness. A mind can take you beyond the present, whereas with appearances, what you see is what you get.
Particularly at a younger age, when we’re overly confident and just beginning to navigate the dating scene, we tend to value physical image over intellect.
Just ask Amy Schumer how she felt in college when all the guys liked the “thinner, blonder, dumber” girls. Or examine why "The Stepford Wife" phenomenon of men praising outer image over inner beauty exists in the first place.
Many of us fall into the trappings of valuing superficial features. And, although this hasn’t exactly been proven (but it’s something we more or less can all agree upon), it’s also why Maria Shriver was once married to Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Because when we’re young, we’re looking primetime amazing and we’re a lot more flippant, and we simply Just. Don’t. Care.
We’ll gladly choose the hot guy over the complex brainiac every single time because we can and we will and it’s fun. What we don’t realize is that these aren’t real reasons to fall in love with someone.
“You can’t fake smart, but you can definitely fake looks” deadpanned one. She was still bitter from a bad Tinder experience. That explains it. “Toss me those crackmounds.” (Did I also mention we were eating sea salt dark chocolate covered almonds, which are as addicting as they sound?)
“At the end of the day, smart brings out sexy,” replied a male, while casually tossing back some nuts. I wanted him to expound upon that sentence. What did that mean "at the end of the day"? Was "being smart" not as appealing a quality, but merely something we all were taught to believe is what matters most? Kind of like respecting your elderly neighbor’s bedtime?
He must’ve caught my glance above my laptop because he continued unprompted, “Being intelligent might not be as obvious at first as looks are, but it’s no contest what’s most important in a relationship.”
All of my friends had valid points, which mostly (and to my liking) favored intelligence over appearance when it came to selecting and screening for a partner. Two points for Gryffindor!
You can change your physical appearance more easily than you can change your mental capabilities. And when all is said and done, you can take apart someone’s looks, but a smart mind is resilient. It’s the difference between a partner who will continue to enliven you and a partner who will get old fast.
Whether you’re at that stage when you can appreciate these words or not, you can’t deny the evidence is compelling. Appearance can’t speak to your soul. It can’t invigorate a spirit like brilliance can.
Because, at the end of the day, the real end of the day, I’d rather die from an eventual stroke of genius that also makes my heart race than die from a sight for sore eyes.
Photo via We Heart It