If you've been following the headlines, you know that President Obama's new Supreme Court nominee, Elena Kagan, has been undergoing some unfair (if typical) scrutiny regarding her lifestyle. People have been saying: "A 50-year-old never-married woman — is she gay?"

Uh, no, she's not. And really, who should care?

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What Elena Kagan clearly and indisputably is, however, is an extremely intelligent and incredibly successful career woman. And on Friday, a Washington Post columnist speculated that the reason Kagan isn't married is because she worked her tail off to advance her career and by the time she was able to relax a little, later in life, she didn't have many marriage options — whereas a man in her position would.

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As the writer says: The brutal fact is that if a never-married man in his 40s or 50s decides, well, better late than never, he's got options — some of them in their 20s or 30s. A never-married woman tends not to have the same array of choices.

Exactamundo, baby.

The Post columnist goes on to make a more salient point, saying that as much as men like to date smart women, most men seem to be put off by women who are smarter. This seems like a pretty legit point. Would you argue with it? I myself have tons of incredibly smart male friends who like dating smart women — but have any of them dated smarter women? Or, at least, have any of them dated women who make a public show of their superior intelligence? It's hard to think of any examples — whereas I can think of tons of examples in the opposite direction.


Nonetheless, three of my male friends reassure me that they are turned on by smarter women...and I believe them.

Man No. 1: He says he likes women who are smarter than him in different ways. "I have such confidence in my sense of humor — which is a form of intelligence — that I figure I will always have that 'over' someone. So I'm happy to be with a woman who's smarter in some respects, as long as I'm the one who's funnier. Ultimately, I want to be challenged, and if I'm with a less-smart woman, I'll get bored." (This goes back to my post last week about how to prevent cheating and ennui in relationships: Read!)

Still, he adds: "I think it's very rare that an extremely smart woman will choose a man who is noticeably less intelligent."

MAN No. 2: He more or less confirms what No. 1 said. "Smarter women don't intimidate me, especially if they're not working in the same field as I am."

MAN No. 3: He thinks it's at least partly Oedipal. "I'm primarily attracted to women who are smarter than I am. I think that's in large part because I have a very strong, intelligent mother. I want to be with a woman who will challenge me, and from whom I can learn."

Anyway ... I totally want to hear your thoughts on all this, ladies. And gents! (I will say that I personally tend to like men who are smarter...but that is another story for another day.)

What do you think?