Intellectual Partnership

Hit Coffee is one of my favorite blogs because of how many subject it covers, even though will can at times very private, he is also very introspective in his writing. Posts there have inspired me quite a bit, and recently he was written a lot about dating and being a geek. It got me thinking about attraction and intelligence.

Intellect is a catch all term that covers a lot of different aspects of thinking, reasoning and even the capability of learning. It is a topic that most people don’t like to talk about because most see it as a rating, like IQ, when in reality you can be smart about a lot of things and different things. I value intelligent conversation in relationships, but also think being able to laugh at a stupid joke just as important. Common sense and street smarts are also things to value and would make a person interesting in my eyes.

What separates us from animals is our mind. We all have instincts to be enticed by simply the visual and the physical aspect of looking at an “attractive” person. What floats my boat might set yours on fire. When around guys I am just as capable of being a pig as any other, but when it comes to relationships and love I have always placed intellect higher than just looks. Chemistry has to be there first, attraction has to be there, but the other side of the relationships has to be interesting or I personally will move on.

I have talked to many smart woman in my life and most of them at one point or another have suppressed their smarts so they can actually date. Many have told me that they let the guy feel smarter simply because relationships seem to end very quickly if the guy realizes that they are more educated or money savvy. When watching transformers there was more drool than popcorn on the floor, but would she be just as hot if she was not “smoking hot” and still able to wrench a car?

I am personally not intimidated by a smart woman, in fact I find my wife to be smarter than me in many subjects. She is way more educated than I am, has read a lot more and dominates 3 languages. I love those things as much as I love looking at her beautiful eyes. I could have never dated Jessica Simpson, even if her “ditsiness” is all a a front, and I am not that attracted to blonds anyway. I get the swimsuit edition of Sports illustrated and enjoy looking at beautiful woman, but I find their life story or personality to be more interesting.

Beauty wears off, intellect keeps on being build. We are all getting older every day and when it comes to a long lasting relationship the important thing is to find each other’s jokes funny and conversations engaging. Attraction and sex are very important but we spend more time interacting with one another in a relationship than awake under the sheets. When looking for a mate you truly want an intellectual partner or the relationship will face issues.

I have always been surprised by couples that call the other person “dumb” behind their backs. My first assumption is that there is some type of insecurity or control issue going on, but I have never gotten very deep down that road because I find people like that not very interesting to being with. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic, and if you don’t feel comfortable posting your name, go ahead and use Anon. Have you dated (or married) someone less intelligent than you in every way? Do you currently dumb yourself down for your partner?

Elders

We have a neighbor that is well into her 80s. We are always conflicted as to how involved we should get. We have had a couple of good conversations with the lady and have learned lots about her life. Every time we have offered help she has been polite to decline it and seems to be a private person even though she has shared some of her life story with us. The conflict comes from both Bea and I coming from a society where our elders were not just part of our lives, they were integral parts of our formation as human beings. Elders are not just respected but rather revered. I cannot forget the first time I went to an “old folks home” back in Colombia when I was a kid and thinking about how it was like an orphanage but for older people. I never imagined that in the society that I would become an adult, a “retirement community” was not the exception but pretty close to the rule.

This society is geared towards individualism and youth. Every day industries promote the fountain of youth and how people are living longer, but also how obsessed people are with staying young. The 40s are the new 30s and so on. Many people are scared of getting older in all societies, but getting older in the U.S. can be right down terrifying.

My paternal grandfather passed away in 2006 and my maternal grandfather is getting older each day. My Mom and I have talked about how my grandfather’s light is not shinning as bright as it used to. This is the man that taught me how to play chess and was always very assertive and successful business man. Now his days are full of anxiety about his illness and all he seems to look forward to now are his yearly trips to Colombia to escape the winter. The cold that to him is killing him might be related more to the coldness of this society has towards the elder rather than the temperature on the thermometer. He would gladly spend the rest of his life back in Colombia, but my grandma who is over a decade younger than him wants to be here where all of our family is. Read more…

Hamburger Helper and SpaghettiOs

Dehydrated and canned foods are not very common in Colombia. I think the only thing I ever saw come out of a can there was tuna and back then I was really not much of a fan. Out of a box the only thing I can remember eating is Jell-o.

Back in College one of my friend that was Italian mentioned that he had never had SpaghettiOs to everyone else amazement. I stayed quiet and observed the rest of the conversation, but for many of my other friends growing up was full of canned, quick foods. I tasted SpaguettiOs once and almost puked. I am not adverse to ramen noodles or mac and cheese, both of which I learn to eat during my college years.

My family does not eat out very often. Not just my immediate family, but also my extended one too. The food we eat at home is excellent an home cooked meals are great, but learning about other foods from all over the word has certainly enriched my life. Hamburger Helper is not bad, is something quick and it does not taste horrible. I know most chain restaurants use similar ingredients for some of the meals you get, and cooked fresh is pretty relative in most places you eat out at.

I have not had Hamburger Helper in some time now, not even home cooked mac and cheese (can any of these foods be considered home cooked?) but am also pretty used to canned beans now and think they taste pretty similar to regular beans depending on how they are prepared. TV dinners are something I tried but did not like at all and have never really been part of my diet. So I am pretty curious now. For us our quick dinners are either pasta or rice and beans. What are some of your default dinners? do they include canned, frozen or out of a box food?

Asking For Help

My Grandfather was a wise man, one of the many lessons he shared with my father and made it all the way down to me was the saying “bring me a sick man, not a dead man.” It was a simple way to rationalize that you don’t let problems get out of hand before you ask for help.

I grew up being very independent and it is a big part of my nature. I experienced life for many years just trying to do things on my own and professing self reliance as the best way to accomplish things. American society certainly fosters the growth of individualism and can do attitude. Then different events in my life made me realize that I was never alone and that even when someone says “you can do it!” just the simple fact of cheering you on is help you are receiving. There is no rule that you have to accomplish everything in life alone.

Community is a concept that I think was lost completely during the 80s and 90s. When Hilary said “It takes a village to raise a child” and people nodded someone should have slapped them. We need to be able to know these common sense things and not have them feed to us by politicians, we should be getting them from our own family or support structure. Our society should not wait until their kids get to college to get their “world view” and learn about diversity, community and other people. We need to recapture our sense of community.

I had a very interesting conversation with Melinda’s husband that left me with many thoughts, one of them that I wish we would have had more time to chat. We discussed how agricultural communities needed one another throughout the year and self reliance was not part of the deal. You needed your neighbors during harvest season. The true kicker though is that community is more significant than just someone to help with the heavy listing. Your health and quality of life are improved thanks your community.

I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell as an author to the point that I was even accused of joining a cult after reviewing Blink. On his book Outliers talks about the phenomenon of how a community made a group of people very healthy. I have also read an article about how having a true friend to have a beer with and discuss your problems with makes you happier than being rich. All of this is pretty irrelevant if you don’t know how or when to ask for help.

Relay on those around you, share your thoughts and gain perspective. I believe blogs and online interaction are changing the word by creating new virtual communities that provide not just a sense of belonging but a group of people that care. I am super excited that my friend Dan is having a child this week, maybe even as soon as later on today! and thankful that he is one of the many people that are part of my community and extended family. Don’t wait until your problems or worries become to big, share them with those around you. It is one of the keys to happiness.

The More We Change

The more we stay the same. I am constantly trying to figure out if people can truly change or if everyone simply stays the same. I have experienced many situations where I though someone had suddenly changed, only to figure out that that is who they were all along, I just wanted to see something else.

This weekend Bea and I watched another romantic comedy, The Ugly Truth. My wife knows the ones that I can stomach and this one was pretty good. Not a full meal of a movie but an ok snack. A little on the sexist side, but also attempting to be truthful and shine the light on what woman think of man. It was no surprise that it was written from the female perspective.

I would have to agree with one of the main points of the movie. If anyone enters a relationship hoping to change or make someone fit into a mold, they are in for a rude awakening. Which brings me to this little pesky subject of change. The movie glosses over the whole subject of self improvement just pegging men as simply incapable of it.

The prior night Bea and I had an interesting conversation about cheating. One of our friends is going through the mental process of determining if they should stay in a marriage with a cheater, or give them just one more chance to change their ways. While the initial reaction is to just say “once a cheater, always a cheater” it is never that simple.

Manhood is achieved in many different ways in our society. We have many stereotypes that are followed as a means to gain respect either for self stem or admiration from your peers. Some men achieve that fixing or riding cars or motorcycles, some achieve that by having the best collection of whatever, some by being the best at a sport or game. The list goes on and on, but as men we have an innate need to excel at something, that is how we become desirable. Some people get that self stem from adding names or in some cases simply numbers to their “hit” list.

Everyone regardless of sex seeks to be recognized in some way. Acknowledgment is the reward for those that seek approval from others. Some people get that by achieving the ultimate intimacy rather than a meaningful relationship or even just a friendship. Some people even have a meaningful relationship, but still seek the thrill of getting into bed with someone because it achieves instant gratification for them in many levels. When this becomes extreme, a lot of effort is devoted to cheating, keeping the lies going, looking for new people to explore, finding that next conquest.

As oversimplified and one sided as it sounds, I have found this way pretty accurate when it comes to the cases I have encountered. I believe that in situations where there is cheating in marriages, it is most likely one person trying to fulfill what the other person is not giving them either emotionally of physically. For the one situation we discussed, and I hope it is not the norm, this person cannot get their approval from simply one human being loving them at home. So we circle back to, can this person change? Should the person just give up and just cut their loses and fold their hand?

Like everything is life, this is a complicated thing and not a slam dunk for the “move on” hopefuls. I believe that once you enter marriage you need to give it your very best til the very end. We all have flaws and while the worst one of all seems to be not being able to keep it in your pants, being a widow to a video game, a garage full of toys, a group of friends, etc, its not all that fun either… maybe less likely to get you the clap, but still not a good situation and makes for unhappy people.

A serial cheater can change only if they discover and understand the root of their problem. I personally think in this particular case, the person did not grow up in an environment where he could see a family structure as a viable or even real option. If you have never truly seen it, a family life can be the unicorn of someone’s existance. On top of that, no father figure or someone to show them how a lady should be treated. Everything else mixed with the nature of man to achieve status one way or another make the perfect cocktail for someone that does not know the value of commitment.

Nobody can change their nature, but everyone can change their behavior. Its not easy, it takes time and most of all support, but it can happen. People turn their lives around, men all over learn to put the toilet sit down. More important than that is accepting people for who they are, and entering every relationship with your eyes open. Do not think you will make someone check off your perfect attribute and expectation list of what a mate should be, specially if the dude has never seen the list.

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