Love, Self

For The Love Of Socrates, Please STOP Calling Yourself A 'Sapiosexual'

Photo: weheartit
not a sapiosexual

You like what you like. Your tastes change and periodically you get surprised, but you’re entitled to dig and lust after and love whatever and whomever you want to (caveat: consenting, willing adults.) And f*ck, man, I appreciate if the kind of love you like has been outlawed, denigrated and generally look upon unfavorably by the masses; then you may be very interested in celebrating either its acceptance or your defiance regarding its lack of acceptance. Kudos.

HOWEVER, liking smart people and self-applying a sobriquet regarding being attracted to smart people is moronic. Please stop using the word “sapiosexual” unless it's a joke.

Sapiosexuals, we’re told, are people who are attracted to intelligence as, more or less, a primary sex characteristic. At its most extreme, this attraction supplants primary modes of sexual orientation — homosexuality, heterosexuality, et cetera. If given the opportunity, a sapiosexual would immediately perform fellatio on Stephen Hawking or let Danica McKellar sit on their face no questions asked. One of those may have been a poor example.

At any rate, declaring yourself 'only' attracted to intelligence is ridiculous and while it’s not our biggest problem as a species, it’s certainly top five. Because you're not a sapiosexual.

Yes, I know some of you think we’re taxiing the mankind airplane onto a runway that takes us to idiocracy and we’re not. Even if we were, being attracted to perspicacity is pretty basic. Not exactly pumpkin lattes and watching The Kardashians basic, but more like “par for the course” basic. And only slightly more interesting than a Playboy Bunny saying that she’s attracted to a sense of humor.

While we’ve managed to shave a number of the sharper edges off of western civilization, we’ve only made it this far as humans because our ancestors sought out survival traits in partners, particularly ones that could be passed on to offspring. Sure, being strong and tough was pretty important to our forefathers but the dude who first jammed a sharp stick in a tiger’s eyeball was probably as much of a commodity as the first broad who made a reasonably watertight pot for holding food.

Saying you’re attracted to smart people has as much impact as saying you’re attracted to people who don’t eat their young or wear backward Kangol hats. 

Intelligence, despite our best efforts, isn’t any more quantifiable than smut. Educators and scientists who are much smarter than you and me have spent the last 150+ years attempting to standardize and assign a number to intellect. And the successors to some of those smarties have spent the last several decades decrying IQ testing as the kind of biased operation that makes phrenology look like good, clean science by comparison.

Further, all of us have met a person who absolutely and completely thrives in a single field but falls to pieces when the topic is slightly changed. Rather than recognizing that person’s brain, we declare her a savant or qualify their genius with their specialty (e.g., she’s a guitar genius).

So what are we saying when we say we’re attracted to intelligence? Is it the wildly subjective sense of humor, which social scientists begrudgingly agree is a pretty good indicator of intellect? Is it the ability to hold a conversation?

That’s a false start as some people are off-the-charts bright but are horrible conversationalists due to a kaleidoscope of reasons including halitosis. Plus, we all know people who are admittedly not smart but truly great conversationalists and possibly salesmen. Is it the kind of dog-eared bookshelf that would make a polymath’s pants fall off?

Again, there are certifiable geniuses who don’t read much beyond news because they get more pleasure squeezing in nature or building or art or face painting between hours of a demanding job and family. Not ironically, there is not a unified field theory of what makes someone smart — outside of what you find “smart” or, much more likely, “not smart” about them. 

And yes, that brings it all back to you: Telling people that you’re only attracted to smart people is a slightly more subtle way of declaring your own brilliance than wearing a Mensa cloak. And that’s fine, man. If your expertise in 19th Century Russian literature rarely comes up, it’s reasonable that you’ll need to remind people you went to college in Massachusetts, Boston, and then Cambridge.

And we get it. You’re great at your job. You’re “well read.” You recently got a shout-out from Will Shortz in Cruciverbalists Monthly. The practice of calling oneself a sapiosexual is particularly loathsome from guys. It’s another “look at me” way to say #NotAllMen. I keep a tack in my shoe that I can stomp on when I hear the phrase “men are visual creatures” so that I may focus on the pain in my toe rather than my ears.

That is, I appreciate, at some level, some guys want to be very, very clear that they are categorically rejecting Hollywood's definition of beauty and would prefer to fully rule out a person’s merit based on another trait beyond that person’s personal control. “Hey bro, I think you and I mean something completely different when we say ‘giving brain,’ OK?” 

Again, it’s borderline impossible to force someone to be attracted to someone or something, and even were it, I’m not advocating that. Nor do I think being a sapiosexual is ableist as a Vice writer suggests (because, of course, they do). It’s an irritating, meaningless, self-fellating term that says substantially more about the sapiosexual than what he’s actually attracted to.

In a time in human history in which we're trying to shed limiting identity labels, it seems counterproductive to add this one to your dating profile. And f*ck it, I know that “clear and present idiocy” is amongst the chief failings of our exes and political rivals, but there’s a decent chance that you’ll be in a happier and healthier relationship if you don’t ask your partner to take the Wonderlic on your first date and don’t pressure both of your to be brilliant at all times. Enjoy this in video format.