Single women are quaking in their trendy boots today -- all because of yet another screed by Maureen Dowd. According to today's New York Times column, men are intimidated by smart women. To win the American male vote, Hillary Clinton should dumb herself down. Oh, and successful women won't ever find love.
Millions of women across the country just got a migraine.
Small-scale opinion surveys may hem and haw about men's preferences for subordinate women, but actions speak louder than words: According to this year's Current Population Survey research of 50,000 households, women who have graduate degrees and/or top salaries are more likely to marry than their less accomplished sisters. Among 35- to 39-year-old women, some 88% with advance degrees have married compared with 81% of women without college degrees. And once married, these smart, successful women may even be more likely to have children.
For all those smart single women out there, here's some advice:
1) Stop reading Maureen Dowd's column. Smart young women must reject the myth that men are intimidated by them. There's a high cost to this conventional wisdom -- and it could be a self-fulfilling prophecy for you if you have a bad attitude toward dating.
In a national survey I conducted for my recent book, Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women 65% of single men said they are more attracted to women who are successful in their careers. Recent research published in the American Journal of Sociology seconded that finding: Based on interpersonal relationships among 60 different communities nationwide, the study concludes that men are more sexually attracted to women in positions of power than they are to more subordinate women. Thus it appears that a woman's success and smarts can be a real aphrodisiac to today's men.
2) Be honest about your achievements and who you are. Don't tell a man you are a stewardess when you are actually finishing law school (or running for president). It's insulting to everyone. If you are lighthearted and fun, if he's attracted to you and finds you interesting, you have the beginnings of a great relationship. Getting to know someone isn't about comparing resumes.
3) Think outside the box. Your success and accomplishments enable you to broaden your horizons in your search for a life partner. The idea that you would only marry a man who has more formal education and makes more money than you do is antiquated -- and might cause you to overlook your soul mate.
If Maureen Dowd got you really worked up, check your odds of marriage using a calculator I created based on U.S. Census data: More education and income is a great asset -- not a liability -- in the marriage market.
And my apologies, as always, to all the smart stewardesses out there. MoDo is giving you a bad rap. Next time Ms. Dowd is on your airplane, perhaps you can chat with her about this.