What I Learned as a Sapiophile in DC (Or How to Date a Nerd)

http://www.mikestimpson.com/photography/images/desire.jpgPhoto credit: www.mikestimpson.com

Sapiophile (n.)- a person who is attracted to intelligence above all other attributes.

I used to think I had a thing for girls with glasses. But bad eyesight alone is hardly a desirable quality in a potential mate, though, what the glasses suggest is: Intelligence. With such a high concentration of universities in the DC area and a job market for educated people, it is very likely that you’ll meet a ton of post-graduates.

With the advent of laser eye surgeries and contact lenses and hipster glasses, it’s become harder to figure out who’s a nerd and who’s not. But as it turns out, DC is full of nerds, and I, as a sapiophile, am in one of the best places on earth to find a suitable date.

It’s science, don’t question it…
I know, I know, I’m not a sociologist nor a statistician, but I have to back up my claim with something, right? According to a study conducted by the Brookings Institution, Washington, DC (and its metropolitan area) is the most educated city in the United States. Forbes also ranked the DC area as the second healthiest city and, furthermore, The Daily Beast (who?) ranks DC in the top 10 (and Alexandria in top 25) of their list of Best Cities for Singles (odds skewed for men. Giggity, alllright!). From this, we can infer that the city is swimming with smart, nerdy, healthy, sexy singles.

Since this is a post about nerds, I’ve decided to include this little pie chart, which takes inventory of the last 10 women I dated and their education levels.

I’m guessing my experience is probably not that far off as ones that you have experienced. After all, how many times have you heard someone say these words at a happy hour? “I’m working on my Master’s/PhD/going to law school right now.”

But just because a plethora of young singles in the city have post-graduate degrees and can probably tell you the exact chemical compound of that bourbon-and-ginger you’re drinking, it doesn’t mean they’re all some kind of intellectual elitists. We all define “intelligence” differently, and you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to not feel like the dunce when dating a nerd.

TV is making you dull and lowering your “intelligence”…
Look, even psychologists don’t really have a single definition for intelligence. There are cultural/regional factors, generational factors and general differences between book smart and street smart.

To be honest, for me, intelligence is more than just Master’s or JD or PhD. It boils down to having a passion in something, and more about the ability to name all of last year’s Man Booker Prize finalists than the ability to name all of the cast members of the Jersey Shore. Tell me about why you think our immigration law is broken, not why I should be watching How I Met Your Mother (sorry, all you superfans, that show’s awful).

Beyond the ephemeral and the ornamental…
We all have our emotional and physical needs, but we also want someone who we can connect with on an intellectual level as well in the mid- to long-term This intellectual connection keeps the conversation going at the dinner table or while having coffee or post-coitus.

And just for the men out there: According to B.H., a female academic and amateur genetic scientist I met while writing this post at The Getaway, the intelligence gene runs on the female side, which means that, in the long run, whatever smarts your kids will have is dependent on your baby’s mama.

So, find your passion. And really, really hone it. Don’t be afraid to be a nerd or to show it. There is a lot of us here in the city. I promise you, if you’re passionate about something you’ll find someone who shares that passion in DC. Especially in DC. A city full of closet nerds.

What’s your passion? What makes you a “nerd?” Tell us in the comments below.

- Eric Wang

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