Well THAT Was Thoroughly Depressing

Remind me not to visit my (undergraduate) alma mater’s alumni website too often, ok? The news section is filled with joyous marriage announcements, career advancements, and bouncing babies born into perfect two-parent nuclear families. Alumni marrying other alumni, with 3 or 4 additional alumni in the wedding. It’s a little Stepford, but really, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t the slightest titch jealous. Because, y’know, that’s how going to that particular college (small Christian liberal arts school, top-notch academics) is supposed to work out. You finish your degree, head off from the sunny halls of academia to a nice career, and most likely get your M.R.S. to boot.

I’ve been coming to terms with an interesting, and pretty unexpected fact over the last months and years. That is, I may be single for a very, very long time, possibly permanently. It’s not that I’m against the idea of marriage – far from it. It sounds like a lovely concept, really. What I’m not sure about is the potential for actually finding someone that I liked well enough to even consider dating, no less marrying. The dating pool is pretty shallow in my part of the world, and I can’t honestly say I’ve met anyone in the past 3 or 4 years that I had more than a passing interest in. Too picky? Maybe. Too set-in-my-ways? Possibly. Too opinionated? Almost certainly. Too smart? It’s looking like more and more of a possibility. That’s not egotism, friends, but rather reality.

Those who know me best (actually, those who know me at *all*) will note that Maureen Dowd is possibly as far from me in philosophy and politics as it is possible to be. However, in the vein of “even a stopped clock is right twice a day,” she hit on something in an op-ed back in January – smarter, more successful women are significantly (and statistically) less likely to marry. Researchers in Britain and at the University of Michigan have noted that men prefer less intelligent women (the British study, which also noted that women prefer more intelligent men), and less successful women (the Michigan study). So it’s not just that us smart chicks have fewer intellectual equals to be interested in, but that those equals are much less likely to be interested in us. If you run the numbers, my odds of marriage based on the IQ test alone are something less than 20%. (Can’t assume that an IQ of 100 = 100% likelihood of marriage, for obvious reasons.) As a good online friend said recently, in response to the above article: “Once you are at the top of your field, in terms of status, money, or achievement, there is no more “up.” All your male equals have already married their receptionists.”

Just a few Sunday-night thoughts from the ER. And really, if you must choose an adjective, I strongly prefer “pragmatic” to “bitter.” It’s not bitterness – it’s acceptance of reality.

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