Do you have to be dumb to get a date?

Since my American man post drew such a - ahem - vocal response, I thought it best to put gender/relationship discussions on the back burner for a bit.

But then along came Dr. Alex Benzer (author of The Tao of Dating) with the firm pronouncement that smart people have the toughest time dating.

Why? Because their superior intelligence interrupts natural relationship behavior. His five main points:
1. Smart people spent more time on achievements than on relationships when growing up.

2. Smart people feel that they're entitled to love because of their achievements.

3. You don't feel like a fully-realized sexual being, and therefore don't act like one.

4. You're exceptionally talented at getting in the way of your own romantic success.

5. By virtue (or vice) of being smart, you eliminate most of the planet's inhabitants as a dating prospect.

I leave it to you to read his full points in the original article, but I thought a brief rebuttal was in order. And in the interest of full disclosure, I am operating under my personal belief that I am a "smart" person which, if you don't agree with, obviously shows that you are stupid and I am at least smarter than you.

Let the counterpoints begin ...

1. Truly smart people recognize that healthy, positive relationships are achievements too. Not all lessons or skill building take place in a vaccuum. In fact, most don't. So you can be a well-rounded individual in both active AND social skills simply by choosing at least one activity or two where interaction is involved. Examples: volunteering, intramural sports, worship services, community theater, etc.

2. Everyone is entitled to love. Love is blind, right? So just as someone who loves you for who you are doesn't see your weight gain, weird parents, or annoying habit of picking your teeth after dinner, he/she won't be judging you on your IQ. Here, I think Dr. Benzer nutshells it perfectly: "Your romantic success has nothing to do with your mental jewelry and everything to do with how you make the other person feel."

3. The right partner for you will think smart = sexy ... but only if you believe it first. Intelligence and sexuality are far from mutually exclusive. Truly smart people get this, which translates into self-awareness and confidence -- very sexy (not to mention enduring) qualities. This is a great help in relationships, because for folks destined to be your kindred spirits (friends and lovers alike), your ability to recognize and celebrate all aspects of your makeup will be a major draw.

4. EVERYONE is exceptionally talented at getting in the way of our own romantic success. Again, IQs have nothing to do with it. Somewhere along the way, we all started overanalyzing, overworrying, overcomplicating what used to be a natural, straightforward process. I don't care if you're Anna Karenina or Bridget Jones; everyone screws this up at some point or another, in all manners and by all means, so our intellectual elite shouldn't be counting themselves special in any way.

5. Define "smart" before you define your partner. Intelligence and compatibility comes in many ways and forms. So if "smart" people are discounting folks on one factor alone, are they really all that smart? I'm not advocating finding someone you can't talk to, or who doesn't "get" you. I'm simply saying that those essential fundamentals -- communication and understanding -- can come without a Mensa card attached.

Again, Dr. Benzer makes a good point: "The purpose of relationship (and perhaps all of life) is to practice the loving. No partner is going to be 100% perfect anyway, so learn to appreciate people for what they have to offer, not what they don't. And love them for that. That's what real loving is."

And that's exactly what the right person will do for you. Even if you're a big smarty pants.