We circulated the question around here and got back at least one up-front answer, from a jaded but contented long-term wife.
I don't care how smart one is --I'd say my husband and I are equally smart (2 Ivy League professional degrees) and that he he wants a smart woman as a major criterion--there's a lot of self-discipline called for in dealing intimately with another person. And I'd say, especially a man. (A man has a veto power on the relationship for physiological reasons I don't care to belabor).
A lot of women have come to believe that a selective project of deliberate self-denial, giving up "rights" in a particular situation, putting someone else first in some areas for the sheer joy of it, somehow is unequal. Well, men, and probably people, really respond to that kind of affectionate focus. And are sometimes walking around in a stressed-out trance like anyone else, clutching at straws for relief and meaning in life.
Maybe "smart" is what works, a la the much-hyped "emotional intelligence" and Gardner's 8 Intelligences that are supposed to be just as good as what IQ measures, to hear a progressive educator tell it.
And, frankly, it's not unusual to encounter a woman who thinks that she is smart and stimulating, but isn't particularly, just stuff-fed like foie gras geese with the latest opinions and accumulated degrees, trotting out some unexamined cliche from her pals or NPR. Since MoDo made herself the focus here, I'll observe that apart from a few cute turns of phrase, I haven't heard a new or intriguing idea from her in years. What if the ranks of secretaries and nurses have a lot of women who pay attention and think for themselves? They may actually be smarter, more fun to discuss things with. I know who I'd rather see a movie with.
Smart is as smart does.
It's a foreground of taste and grace on a canvas of power and destiny. Yes, power differentials are a subtext even in loving relationships, to be consciously understood.
Get a grip, and some perspective, mademoiselle. Read some Jane Austen, even The Rules with an anthropological eye, see The Age of Innocence, for visions of the iron self-control that was adopted by women as a rule of life not that long ago.
In whose universe does the desire for "a relationship" loom largest? (S)he will want to remember Gordon Livingston's True Thing #5: Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least.
Update: Either the approach or the framing of it didn't grill many truffles back at Ann's, we're considered far too approving of inequality in favor of the somnolent male, even endorsing a weak and sniveling way to go about living!
Especially helpful since a collaborator is seeking parallel-blog titles, a sort of arena to let-er-rip right up to the fringe of the First Amendment.
Baldo's Kooky Abuelita has been spoken for, Weak and Sniveling may be available. Stay tuned.
We're steeled for more candor from all, absorbent linen pj shirttails wadded and at corner-of-the-eye ready.
Update 1.28.05: President Summers of Harvard is paddling in the vapors of questions of candor.