Suddenly Single… Minded

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Lingering in lingerie? Hide your IQ – show your bra strap

The University of Chicago describes itself as  “The place fun came to die.”

September, 1980, 24 freshmen girls sat around two large oak tables while the dorm RA, Barbara, reviewed the rules: curfew, visiting hours, and security.

After her 30-minute orientation, she closed the three-ring binder, looked up and said, “That’s it. Welcome to the University of Chicago. Off the record, I’ve got one other piece of advice.  My freshmen RA told me this and I am passing on to you.  In case you’re interested in dating a guy in college: hide your IQ and show your bra strap.”

The girls had all pretended to listen to the rules and regulation part of the presentation, however when Barbara, the cool upper classman – an Amazon, with long flaxen hair, the embroidered peasant blouse, faded jeans, and cool hecho en Mexico- huaraches mentioned the words “date and men” all 24 pairs of eyes were on her.  Enrapt.

“Yeah. And,  hide your IQ. Hey, we were all 4.0, we all had the highest SAT scores, and you were probably all student body presidents, right? And, how many of you were cheerleaders or prom queens?” The girl from Nevada raised her hand, and quickly  put it down. Barbara smiled at the poor little sheep who had lost their way and quipped, “I rest my case.”

Their new idol, now seemingly smarter and sexier than an hour before, picked up her binder, scanned the room and said, “Men are intimidated by smart women. Even here. It’s a fact. I am a junior, I have been here for three long years.”

“Finally, never knock on my door before 9 am or after 9 pm.” As she walked out of the room, she called out, “Enjoy college, girls.”

Lingering in Lingerie

The sage advice caused an eruption of discussion and Ms Nevada said she came to Chicago to meet ‘the Susan Sontags and Mike Nichols not the Carl Sagan and Milton Friedman types.’ The girls were initially bemused and confused. Twenty years before women burned bras and now – show and tell? Cool.

Do smart women intimidate men?

There is a Mensa party every Wednesday night in San Rafael (disguised as Trivia Night at the Broken Drum) Chances are most attendees at Trivia Night graduated from Ivy League schools. You see a lot of Penn, Cal, Stanford, and MIT logos on Wednesday nights. The trivia-teams compete furiously and the questions become more and more challenging as the evening transpires. Interestingly enough, 50% of the attendees are women. Really smart women. They show and tell. The word on the street is that the women succeed at scoring – on every level…academically and socially, IQ’s in full view. And the men enjoy the exchange and banter.

The well-intentioned advice from a 20 year old in Chicago in 1980 inspired a spate of lingerie shopping for a dozen very smart coeds and the men on campus were luckier for it.

“All this pitting of sex against sex, of quality against quality; all this claiming of superiority and imputing of inferiority belong to the private-school stage of human existence where there are sides, and it is necessary for one side to beat another side.”   Virginia Woolf

cupcakes

San Francisco Dating@50 Examiner, Page Larkin,welcomes your feedback, questions and queries at Page.Larkin@gmail.com.

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