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WHAT MAKES BOOKWORMS DESIRABLE
By Jayeeta Mazumdar
That’s my boyfriend. He is really ‘smart.’ In season one of The Big Bang Theory, Penny couldn’t get enough of showing off her new geek boyfriend, Leonard. But while not many women have a thing for the stereotypical nerd, most admit to finding the well-read, bespectacled man appealing.
Think about it. If Millhouse wasn’t smart, would the all-knowing Lisa Simpson even have spared him a second glance? While you may not be as snooty as Lisa or as enamoured as Penny, surveys have pointed to the fact that women do find intellectual men sexy.
It’s something to bond over
Now imagine this — you’ve grown up on granny’s stories, taken a membership at the local library at age 10, and always loved the smell of yellowed pages. Corporate lawyer Dipannita Ghose’s life has somewhat been like that. Which is also why she finds it difficult to sustain a conversation if her date has no interest in books. “I have met many good-looking men, but all of them turned out to be poor readers. Although I have come back charmed by their looks, I have been disappointed. I have, in fact, turned down coffee dates because the text messages had awful grammar.”
It’s a sign of depth
While women do not necessarily dream of dating men who feed on Foucault or Freud, being articulate does guarantee brownie points. Psychologist Seema Hingorrany explains the logic. “Women are becoming independent in more ways than one. So they want a man who is intellectual; someone who can rave not just about the brands he wears, but also have a debate about the next elections,” she says. “Women are a lot more aware of what’s happening around the world than their male counterparts. They are well-read themselves, so their expectations are growing.” A recent study by New Zealand-based researcher James Flynn revealed that women out-scored men in an IQ test he designed.
It’s a mark of taste
For wedding planner Ananya Sharma, what a man reads is as important as whether he reads. “Depending on his choice in literature, a man can be open-minded or narrow-minded, worldly wise or ignorant, sensitive or uncouth, imaginative or boring,” she says. “So many of our ideals are shaped by books, that I can’t imagine what might have shaped a man who doesn’t read. He should be as comfortable discussing books like Harry Potter or Gone With The Wind, which aren’t typically ‘guy books’, as he might be discussing Rand or Camus.”
Counsellor Varkha Chulani agrees that a man needs a lot more than just brawn to impress a woman. “The idea that brains and good looks are a combination hard to come by is a myth busted long ago. Women today want to be challenged in topical discussions as much as they want to show off arm candy. Mental stimulation is just as important as physical.”
Sustaining a successful and steady relationship depends a lot on how well the partners connect.
“It’s nice to wake up next to a man who can cook you a hearty breakfast and have an opinion about a book the movie you watched the night before was based on,” smiles Dipannita. Well, we couldn’t agree more.