I’m shallow; I’ll admit it. I judge people by their appearances. I make assumptions about their personality and the lifestyle based of what I see. Chances are good you have or do too.
One of the most common stereotypes we (yes, we; I’m including you in this) hold is that very attractive people aren’t the most intelligent of the bunch. Conversely the opposite is also assumed true — less attractive people are usually smart.
I fell into this trap just the other day. During a conversation on Twitter, I gained a very attractive new female follower, Khalilah. Normally, I don’t immediately follow a user back unless they seem interesting, but this time, I, being a shallow, superficial man, followed her back. I even openly admitted it to Twitter.
She laughed about it, as did I, and said she wished I had been following her that morning when she was discussing interracial relationships and the dynamics of dating black versus white. Scrolling back through her tweets, I noticed that she had some interesting observations, so, we struck up the conversation once again. We had a great dialogue, and she helped me see things from a different perspective. At the end of the night, as much as I hate to say it, I was more than a bit surprised that the beauty had a brain.
I wish I didn’t equate people’s intelligence with their attractiveness, but it happens. And I know I’m not the only one who does it. In talking with Khalilah today, and telling her about this piece, she told me that men are often surprised when they see how intelligent she is. One was even forthright enough to tell her that she was, “the first smart one” he had dated.
Common sense tells me that she’s not the only smart, attractive woman who has shocked a man with their intellect. Or heck, the fact that they read books. I have no doubt that we could find scores of beautiful, educated women with the same story.
This leads me to wonder why men, myself included, often still dissociate beauty and brains. Do women think the same thing and subsequently find it to be true? Ladies, are you shocked when you find a man who is both good looking and intelligent? Or is this another double standard that American society is so famous for?