Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"I Want Him to Be Smarter Than Me"

I have a thing for romance novels. They're like grown up fairytales, in that they're make-believe, unrealistic, and always have a happy ending. I like them.

Something I cannot abide though, when reading romance novels, is weak-willed heroines. Or heroes who always get their way or are always right. Or heroines who flippantly ignore directions to "STAY HERE" and attempt to help fight a villain when they have NO street smarts or physical skill whatsoever. Like, girl, you're only getting in the way. Trust your dude to know what he's doing and don't make it worse. Sometimes, there's a lot of eye-rolling involved with reading romance novels.

But weak-willed heroines are seriously the worst. I can eye-roll my way through impulsive, stupid decisions to "help" vanquish the bad guy. I can skip awkward, silly, flowery descriptions of the main characters meeting for the first time. Love scenes? I fast-forward until everyone's got their clothes on. But spineless "heroines" who let the hero run roughshod over them and make decisions for them without giving him at least some feedback? I don't think so.

In real life, I've had many a conversation with friends about guys. Whoaaaa, Sam, not youuu! I know, right? But seriously, these conversations happen and one of the things that comes up every time the topic of future-significant-other arises is "I want him to be smarter than me."

Mind you, this is coming from my friends, not me.

Because I CANNOT agree with that statement as it stands now.

Let me explain.

I love my friends. These girls are smart, hilarious, easy to be around, passionate, and fun. We're all a tad bit nerdy {some more than others, but hey, at least we know it and own up to it. No point in denying the obvious} and can be pretty stubborn when we get into arguments. We're not pushovers. We think for ourselves. We have opinions and we're not afraid to voice them when needed.

Which is why it sometimes bugs me when they make over-arching statements like "I want him to be smarter than me" without some additional explanation or caveat.

I kind of understand what they're going for with this-- we're Asian and we're slightly {or more than slightly} nerdy, so being with someone who is on the same wavelength and with whom we can have interesting conversations and who challenges us is a really good thing. I don't deny this. I get it.

However. I still don't agree with that statement by itself. Maybe it's because I have met waaay too many guys who are definitely smarter than me, but are totally and utterly complete jerks. These are the guys who are smart and know it and want YOU to know it, too. They make little quips about how you wouldn't understand their research or classes because you're "only" a Communications major. They don't even try to include you in a conversation about an interesting science or technology article they read because they assume you have no idea what they're talking about. When you ask for help with something trivial, like "hey, can you help me open this jar of pasta sauce?," they respond back with a fifteen minute lecture on torque and pressure and still don't help you open the jar.

I don't like them.

Now, I know that not all smart guys are like that. The majority of my friends are guys and they're {for the most part} all ridiculously intelligent. The adjectives and traits used to describe my girl friends fit my guy friends just as well. They're all good eggs. But I still CANNOT say "I want my significant other to be smarter than me" without some additional clarification.

"I don't want him to be over-archingly "smarter than me." I want him to be smarter than me in some topics and areas and be willing to admit it when I'm better than him in others. I want us to be able to work together and fill in each others' blanks. To complement one another.

I'm more than willing to admit that I don't know everything, but I need him to be able to admit that too, or else he'll drive me up the wall. Yes, I would like him to be smart, but he can't be a jerk about it. If I ask him a question about something I don't understand, he needs to be willing to try and explain it, without sounding condescending. If I still don't get it, that's on me and not in any way his fault. But he has to be willing to learn from me, just as I am willing to learn from him."

That's what needs to be said. That's what I wish more girls replied with when asked what they're looking for in a significant other.

Please don't ever be a weak-willed heroine. Think things through, come up with your own decisions, know your strengths, and be willing to fix your weaknesses. You are just as worthy of respect as any guy and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Be a heroine we can root for, not one who causes us to put the book down and move on.

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