Mary’s the first person I’ve ever dated who’s as smart as I am. I’m not supposed to say shit like that. I’m not supposed to say that I’m smart, and I’m not supposed to rank the intelligence of others. It’s bad manners to acknowledge our gifts, right? Disingenuous. I value intelligence, and I finally get that the kind of intelligence I was drawn to when I was younger had a lot to do with the kind of relationships I ended up in. I used to date people whose intelligence was different from mine because then they wouldn’t feel like they had to compete with me. They could be their smart and I would be my smart and there would be no friction. Why would you compete with me when you have your own domain? You’re the guy who knows all about military weapons. You’re the one who knows supplements to maximize some kind of physical receptor. Great. Yeah, you do that. I’ll be over here writing.
The truth is, I picked people who interested me. But at some point they would take on an argument made to devalue my intelligence. To categorize it as specialized, condescending, frivolous. It was an argument against art. An argument against humanism. An argument against me. It was an argument made to kick me off balance, to reduce me.
We all have gifts. To pretend we don’t does everyone around us a disservice. I see things with my own particular language. I had begun to think it was a language I’d speak on my own, or with G. Like reading Ezra Pound, when you realize you’d have had to read all the books he read, in the order he read them, and travel to all the places he did at the times he traveled to them to have any fucking idea what the dude was saying. He’s actually a poor example of what I mean. I’m talking about the secret world of our brains and my attempts to give my secret world a dialogue. It was starting to seem like it’d just be a monologue forever.
I value a particular kind of intelligence, but I admire the others as well. And so I can tell you, Mary is as smart as I am, and she’s not intimidated by me or my ego. She doesn’t agree with me because she doesn’t know how to formulate an argument, and she doesn’t argue simply to avoid admitting that I’m right. She is comfortable with her intelligence and her power and comfortable with mine in turn. That’s a gift too.
I feel sometimes like I bartered myself against this notion that smart girls have to be quiet about it. That it’s OK for us to be smart so long as we don’t make a fuss, or, you know, prove that we’re smart. That we can be smart if our smart makes our partners look better, but not if it makes our partners feel inadequate. I was worried about writing this blog because it makes me feel like an asshole. And that’s it exactly.