Sex + Love

June 17, 2011

Ask Kristi: “A Lonely Intellectual”

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Written by: Kristi
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Dear Kristi,

I am a PhD student at UBC and have been an academic and intellectual my whole life. Recently I met a guy at a bar that I was super attracted to, and we ended up hooking up. The next day I found out that he is a mail man. I don’t think of myself as classist or superior to others, and yet I kind of feel like he will never be able to challenge or compete with me at an intellectual level, and frankly, I don’t feel like I could ever invite him to meet my friends or family because they would be really judgemental about his career and intelligence. I want to like, be able to have conversations about Proust and Hegel over fine wines. Am I snob?

A lonely intellectual


Dear Ali,

I think that all depends on exactly what you want from this guy. Clearly he’s attractive and good for a decent role in the hay, and since there’s not much room for Hegel between the sheets (unless the sex is so boring that you need Hegel to spice it up, in which case RUN!) then I don’t see any problem with maintaining a strictly betwixt-the-sheets relationship. However, that solution is pretty obvious, so I get the impression that you are look for more than a genital gymnastics spotter.

You didn’t find out about his profession until the morning after; so I’ll assume that he was at no obvious intellectual disadvantage the night before. But let’s not break this down to intellect; plenty of perfectly intelligent people never studied Proust or Hegel, or went to post-secondary at all. If he was merely physically attractive, again, I doubt you’d be worrying about your friends, family and possible future together if he hadn’t attracted you on some mental/emotional level. So to answer your question bluntly, no, I don’t think you are a snob, but I do think you’re being picky. Sometimes being picky works out, but you have to realize that you are cutting a lot of eligible, cute boys out of your dating pool by having very particular standards. I do think you may be looking for what you THINK should make you happy in a relationship rather than what actually will. I have some personal experience with this mistake and trust me, it’s one you’ll wish you had avoided.

There is nothing wrong with looking for certain desirable traits in a mate. Intelligence is a good one to care about. But by judging intellect merely by education/career choice, you’re cutting out a whole lot of really smart people with blue collar jobs. You think you’re cutting out all people who wouldn’t be able to have intelligent conversations with you, but your determinant is flawed. I know a whole lot of stupid people working white collar jobs with Master’s degrees. But friends’ and family’s opinions do matter; at least to the point where you will have to hear about what they think over and over again (and if they disapprove of your chosen partner, that won’t be very fun for you). But remember that your chosen boy is the one you have to wake up next to every day, not them.

Here is some no nonsense dating advice. When considering a long-term partner, don’t think about what you are looking for now, think about what you’ll be looking for in ten, twenty, fifty years. Because an impressive career and education are nice, but there are other really important things that we don’t consider. How long would your partner maintain a lucrative career if they lack dependability? How much will that career matter to you if they are selfish and believe in strict financial independence between two partners? How much will your friends admire their intellect if your partner refuses to meet with them? How many warm and stimulating conversations could you have if you live in fear of emotional or physical abuse? Certainly not to say that every rich, successful gay guy is a jerk, but it’s hard to find ALL the qualities you want in a partner – there will always be some compromise. Whether you’re compromising on education, career, honesty, dependability, or love, there will always be something on that list to which your partner will not match up. The trick is to make sure you’ve gained more than you’ve lost by compromising. Sure, maybe you won’t discuss philosophy over wine, but maybe you’ll go rock-climbing!

Ultimately, my advice would be to determine how much education and career choice mean to you. If they are very important to you (which is totally OK), let the guy go. It’d be one thing for him to know that your friends and family are less than enthused about his perceived lack of intelligence and success, and it would be quite another to know that you agree with them. Continue sleeping with the cute boys, but make sure that you know whether they possess your deal-breakers or not before you start envisioning evenings in the study.

To add a final personal touch: my husband is an intellectual, studied philosophy in University, loves wine and makes a handsome annual income at a bureaucratic job, but he also cheated on me multiple times, never did the dishes and was totally self-absorbed, and now we’re getting divorced. My new boyfriend dropped out of University to go to trade school and learn how to pour concrete; he is honest, generous and self-sufficient. Sometimes it’s worth giving up on things that seem important, in order to meet a guy with personal qualities that can lead to lasting love.


Yours intelligently,


About the Author

|Sex & Relationships Writer| I am a 20-something straight divorcee with a dirty mind and a loud mouth. I work for a non-profit organization that can appreciate my mad writing and policy development skills despite my outrageous TMI outbursts. I'm a feminist, a mother, a techno-phile, an avid and shameless sex blogger. I'm most often seen having sex or hunched over a computer, writing about sex. Or eating...I like eating.



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  1. Rachelle

    I know this wasn’t directed towards me, but you have such great advice.

  2. I find it really interesting that you think this is a “she”? Why is that presumed? I felt myself thinking the same thing when reading it but there is no indication about the gender. Is this like a “girl” problem or something? Or a “straight” problem?

  3. John

    For some reason, I find myself assuming — so I assume things, sue me! — A lonely intellectual is a female. Why is that? Being a gay man of the , I can relate to these feelings of questioning relationships. But, does that entail any ‘female’ characteristics? Sensitivity?

  4. Kristi

    Lol, I totally assumed it was a guy!

    “Certainly not to say that every rich, successful gay guy is a jerk,”

  5. Gawd the nerd cat is brilliant, and by default, I am thus also quite brilliant for finding it yes? Woooop.

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