Ed from OC

When she is older or more successful

87 posts in this topic

I wanted to bring up a topic related to ElizabethLee's "femininity vs heroine worship" in the Psychology forum. What's been discussed and largely agreed upon is the role of the man as the valuer and of the woman as the value, and the importance for the woman of hero-worship in her orientation toward him.

What does this say about relationships in which (a.) the woman is more successful in her career than he is, or (b.) she is older than he is?

I've noticed that the dynamic is not clearly the same as when he is older and more successful. If she is older, more successful, more advanced in her career, and makes more money, in what way does she adopt the role of hero-worshipper toward her man?

One easy example of the contrast is Dagny's attitude toward Rearden, Eddie, and Galt. Other examples come from Hollywood stars, where the new trend is successful women involved with younger men (e.g., Demi Moore and Ashton Kutchner).

Final question for the post: is there a necessary flaw in such relationships?

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What does this say about relationships in which (a.) the woman is more successful in her career than he is, or (b.) she is older than he is?

[...]

Is there a necessary flaw in such relationships?

Such factors can seriously affect the dynamics of a relationship and need to be dealt with, but a morally strong and psychologically self-confident man can handle it.

Ayn Rand was much more famous than her husband, but the relationship lasted over 50 years and she referred to him as "my rock." When asked "Of which of your achievements are you proudest?" she replied

I've never given it any thought.  I don't measure my achievements that way.  But on the spur of the moment, I'd say marrying Frank O'Connor.

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I've noticed that the dynamic is not clearly the same as when he is older and more successful.  If she is older, more successful, more advanced in her career, and makes more money, in what way does she adopt the role of hero-worshipper toward her man?

(e.g., Demi Moore and Ashton Kutchner).

Final question for the post: is there a necessary flaw in such relationships?

hi Ed!

First, as usual, let me agree with Betsy :). And note her stress that it depends on the -man-'s view. That's why I had asked you earlier if you had ever been involved with a woman your intellectual better. Because it's really up to you.

We ladies, we can find infinite things to hero-worship, you'd be surprised! There are issues of taste; not all women admire the same things of course. But there's plenty of hero worship to go around.

Hero worship is an infinite response to be earned, not a static quantity to be divided.

re Demi Moore; they were involved 2years I believe and just recently married; per google surfing;

ages 45-27=18y apart, started when he was 25

So they're not on my radar yet, having no long term marriage... For what it's worth, ideas I've heard and are plausible;

.People over 25years are similar; but younger than 25 are still a lot like kids; so Ashton was an adult when they married; they make that.

.Women who are over 10years older than the men won't work romantically; obviously they're farther apart.

.The older the couple gets, the less the age difference matters [eg at age 80years for the woman, is a man 60years really that much younger? 10years is 13% of her life and 17% of his]

I have several experiences dating younger men. Success as I've seen it strongly depends on the man's integration, ie not integrity if it's an issue of growing up, but it comes up about the same.

Definitely I don't see anything inherently wrong. Do you?

Oh! and success in career I think is not even as difficult as age.

IQ I'm not sure about, if only because a lot of men like to have the "final say" in things. So I could imagine that causing difficulties. Again, for myself, I think probably if I were higher IQ, the gap that would work out would be smaller than the gap that a man would accept if the woman were lower.

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And note her stress that it depends on the -man-'s view.  That's why I had asked you earlier if you had ever been involved with a woman your intellectual better.  Because it's really up to you.

Okay, but my question is about the woman's perspective. I'm assuming the man in the relationship doesn't have an issue. What I'm unsure of is the woman's view, given the need for hero-worship. It's clear, for instance, the Eddie Willers was attracted to Dagny, but she didn't ever think of him in the same way. Why not? He wasn't morally lacking. To a certain extent, he was heroic; it was his capacity for intellectual and existential achievement that limited him: while excellent in his role, he would never invent a new metal or lead an intellectual revolution. Does that mean hero-worship ties in to something other than morality or confidence?

We ladies, we can find infinite things to hero-worship, you'd be surprised!  There are issues of taste; not all women admire the same things of course.  But there's plenty of hero worship to go around. 

Hero worship is an infinite response to be earned, not a static quantity to be divided.

I have several experiences dating younger men.  Success as I've seen it strongly depends on the man's integration, ie not integrity if it's an issue of growing up, but it comes up about the same.

I'm not sure what you mean with these three points. Would you elaborate?
Definitely I don't see anything inherently wrong.  Do you?
Not from the man's perspective, and I'm trying to understand the woman's perspective. Betsy's example of Ayn Rand and Frank O'Connor is really good. I don't see a problem with such relationships, but I'm having trouble integrating that with my understanding of hero-worship.
IQ I'm not sure about, if only because a lot of men like to have the "final say" in things.
LOL! I'd say that's more true of women. There are lots of cliches about that: how the most important words for a married man are: "Yes, dear;" "You're right;" and "I'm sorry." :)

But I suppose that has more to do with a person's insecurities rather than gender.

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hi Ed!

I find myself reluctant to answer more without a lot more from you. It seems like a question I'd love to do as consulting for a fee, but for fun, it's no longer feeling feminine to me. Maybe your thoughts can improve that :) Here are some q's;

Why do you ask about this?

where are you coming from?

going to?

You said you haven't dated a woman of higher IQ. Please introspect. Why not? What would that entail? This is crucial.

Please contrast to cases where you dated a financial better.

Contrast/compare to Eddie/Dagny vs Dagny/Danneger.

What is sense of life? How is it related, if at all, to hero worship?

That may cover it :)

OK, and one clarification; I said "I have several experiences dating younger men. Success as I've seen it...." Normally I measure success vis a vis 50year marriages, but for dating I measure success in terms of happy memories. Interestingly, I personally find that what I retain is not my experiences at the time, but the man's integrity in enacting those memories. [Women who were battered surely differ from me.]

I'd be curious if other women have that experience.

Thus, the question is, in 10years will I look back and think

"Wow! that was one of the best valentines' days I've ever had! What a guy! What a story to tell! He really went all out for his values, and he still does"

or

...not.

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hi Ed! 

I find myself reluctant to answer more without a lot more from you.  It seems like a question I'd love to do as consulting for a fee, but for fun, it's no longer feeling feminine to me.  Maybe your thoughts can improve that :)  Here are some q's; 

 

First, if I've said or asked something out of line, I apologize. I don't know where your reluctance is coming from, or what the "no longer feeling feminine" means or why it affects this discussion, but whether you choose to continue the discussion is your choice. I've liked reading your posts on other threads and can learn from what you have to say, so I hope you decide to continue.

Second, in regard to your questions, you are asking for a lot of really personal information that I don't wish to post publicly. If you and I were closer friends, rather than internet acquaintances, I might discuss them privately with you, but not in a public forum. Also, I don't see why the questions are necessary or how they bear on my initial question.

Let me get very specific regarding my general question by focusing on one concrete example: Dagny and Eddie. Dagny has relationships with Francisco, Rearden, and Galt while over several years, Eddie remains "just a friend" -- albeit a very good friend. Why? Is there something that Dagny, qua woman, needs from her romantic partners that is lacking in Eddie?

I think this is an issue of feminine psychology, so it is not something I can answer by introspection. I really would like to hear from some of the women on the forum and how they assess this topic.

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The real reason that Dagny didn't settle down with Eddie is that it would have made quite a different book. When speculating about psychology it's generally not wise to turn to fiction as your source of material for thought.

I think I have some real-life perspective on this issue that I'm happy to share, however.

My mother is six years older than my father, and while not as fiscally successful as he is, in her main career (namely, running the household and raising her children) she's quite a bit more driven than he is. They do not always have a fantastic relationship, and even when things are going well my mother has a tendency to, well, treat my father like one of her children.

I can unabashedly say that I'm extremely intelligent and I often have the same problem: mothering men instead of viewing them romantically; it's a relationship-killer.

The really important factor in preventing this from happening is that the woman needs to continue view the man as independant even after they're an item. Sure, she might make more money, but he's perfectly capable of taking care of himself in that regard. She might be older (more mature?) but he's still responsible. She might be smarter, but he's still more than capable of thinking for himself.

It is only when a woman comes to regard the man as a true dependant in some respect that she loses her ability to consider him a hero and the relationship self-destructs.

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The real reason that Dagny didn't settle down with Eddie is that it would have made quite a different book.  When speculating about psychology it's generally not wise to turn to fiction as your source of material for thought.

I think it is a very clear, concrete example of the phenomenon I'm trying to understand. Most people on this forum are quite familiar with it. Sure, it is fiction, but it reflects something real.

I can unabashedly say that I'm extremely intelligent and I often have the same problem: mothering men instead of viewing them romantically; it's a relationship-killer.

I think the reverse is also the case, if the man is too much smarter than the woman: instead of a relationship between partners, he takes on more of a fatherly role, and maybe even looking down at her. That's not romantic for him, either. He needs to respect her as a person. I don't think that's the same thing as how a woman needs to view her man, but it is necessary.

The really important factor in preventing this from happening is that the woman needs to continue view the man as independant even after they're an item.  Sure, she might make more money, but he's perfectly capable of taking care of himself in that regard.  She might be older (more mature?) but he's still responsible.  She might be smarter, but he's still more than capable of thinking for himself.

It is only when a woman comes to regard the man as a true dependant in some respect that she loses her ability to consider him a hero and the relationship self-destructs.

That's an interesting point. If the woman is moved to care for the man through something other than admiration, does it mean her concern for him will never be romantic in the full sense? So if she pities him, she may end up mothering him, but not really loving him in the romantic sense. Another example that comes to mind is in "Back to the Future," where Marty's parents have a bad relationship early on but (SPOILER ALERT) a great one in the end, because his father stands up for himself and rescues Marty's mother. Is that the difference you're getting at?

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Sure, it is fiction, but it reflects something real.

Yes, and you can't eat the image of an apple in a mirror, either. Fiction is not a good source of data for drawing conclusions about real people. At best, it tells you the author's conclusions. You cannot learn anatomy from a statue, you cannot learn optics from a painting, and you cannot learn psychology from a novel.

If a man (or woman) looks down on people for being less intelligent that is his (or her) problem, and not some kind of fault inherent in the relationship. You CAN love people that are much less intelligent than you are, but you have to be AWARE that they are independant of you in the intelligence department. No one can think about everything, so if your spouse is independant and uses their mind, they will nonetheless have a great deal to contribute intellectually to the relationship.

Active intelligence is an issue for me because I have met any number of people that essentially have nothing to contribute to me intellectually. When I talk to them I have to initiate conversation, pick a topic, and I do almost all of the talking, with their contribution being along the lines of "Wow, you think a lot about this, don't you?" They bore me.

The issue between my mother and father is, I think, organizational independance. My dad can be relied-upon only sporadically to interest himself in the day-to-day maintenance tasks of the family and the organization that they require, whereas my mother is compulsively organized about everything. She really does evidence (on occasion) the belief that without her around no one would get fed, or have clean clothes, and the bills would be forgotten. In reality, I think my dad is just more laissez-faire about the particular schedule of tasks, but he does manage to get things done in time, if not ON time.

As I said, it is independance that really makes the difference, and not the quantity of any particular trait. The idea is, though, that you have to be completely independant. It's not enough to be everything BUT, say, fiscally independant. You have to be completely capable of running your own life before you can share it with someone else.

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Sure, it is fiction, but it reflects something real.

Yes, and you can't eat the image of an apple in a mirror, either. Fiction is not a good source of data for drawing conclusions about real people. At best, it tells you the author's conclusions. You cannot learn anatomy from a statue, you cannot learn optics from a painting, and you cannot learn psychology from a novel.

But that statue, that painting, and that novel can each still be a very valuable adjunct to your learning. Clearly one studies a technical text to learn a science, art not being didactic in nature. However, the elements of art are not created in a vacuum and the essentialized reality of artistic creation is still tied to the real world. When characters are presented in Romantic art, their essentialized nature becomes a concretization of the artist's grasp of the nature of man. And, if "Ed from OC" is struggling to understand an aspect of a person's psychology, especially a person's motivation, the characters created by Ayn Rand can certainly provide insight. Note Ayn Rand's comments here, from The Romantic Manifesto.

What do we mean, in real life, when we say that we do not understand a person? We mean that we do not understand why he acts as he does. And when we say that we know a person well, we mean that we understand his actions and know what to expect of him. What is it that we know? His motivation.

Motivation is a key-concept in psychology and in fiction. It is a man's basic premises and values that form his character and move him to action—and in order to understand a man's character, it is the motivation behind his actions that we must understand. To know "what makes a man tick," we must ask: "What is he after?"

Here Ayn Rand was explicating some basic principles of literature. But, while good art created using those principles is not fundamentally didactic, understanding what makes a character "tick" can certainly offer insight into what makes people "tick" in real life.

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Okay, but if you want to answer "why didn't Dagny and Eddie hook up?", all the answers are along the lines of: "Eddie didn't consciously realize his love for Dagny until they were parting" and "Dagny thought of him as a piece of office furniture". A work of art is an integrated whole. You can't pull the two characters out of the story and start asking questions about how they might have acted in completely different circumstances; it's an act of speculation akin to trying to figure out what John Galt's favorite breakfast cereal would be.

I'm not saying you can't examine their motivations; you CAN, and make all kinds of interesting observations. But you can't conclude that women can't suffer a relationship with a "lesser" man based on the fact that Dagny and Eddie never hooked up. There is no shortcut to learning about people; you have to observe real people.

Now, if modern psychology were a real science (overall, I'm not saying there aren't good scientists in the field) instead of a mishmash of science, mysticism, unborn philosophy and (at its worst) vague wishes, you could pick up a few books and learn all sorts of principles about what is/isn't good for your (and others) psychological health/relationships/what-have-you. I personally have learned a lot about how to go about observing people from reading books, but I've also found an incredible amount of nonsense and disinformation.

Now, I have a question for you, Mr. Speicher: is your assertion based on the fact that fiction qua fiction opens a doorway into understanding psychology, or that I included Ayn Rand in it? Do you think you can learn about real people by considering the relationships of two characters from Catch 22 or Cryptonomicon or Time Enough For Love? If I'd said you can't necessarily rely on Robert Heinlein to present an accurate picture of the psychology of real people instead of people as he's re-creating them artistically, would you disagree?

Ayn Rand's understanding of people is fantastic, and I'm thoroughly an Objectivist, but that doesn't mean that I try to make my relationship with my boyfriend identical to Dagny's with Rearden.

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Okay, but if you want to answer "why didn't Dagny and Eddie hook up?", all the answers are along the lines of: "Eddie didn't consciously realize his love for Dagny until they were parting" and "Dagny thought of him as a piece of office furniture".

A "piece of office furniture?" Frankly speaking, such a characterization of Dagny's relationship toward Eddie Willers strikes me as quite absurd. Our difference in judgment appears to be more substantial than the narrower issue that I addressed.

A work of art is an integrated whole.  You can't pull the two characters out of the story and start asking questions about how they might have acted in completely different circumstances; it's an act of speculation akin to trying to figure out what John Galt's favorite breakfast cereal would be.

Equating speculation on such an optional triviality as a "favorite breakfast cereal," with understanding important actions based on grasping fundamental aspects of a character's psychology is, to say the least, rather incongruous. Understanding a character's basic psychological motivation -- the important ideas and values from which his character is formed -- and projecting how such a nature might respond to issues and circumstances of substance, is hardly "speculation akin to trying to figure out what John Galt's favorite breakfast cereal would be."

I'm not saying you can't examine their motivations; you CAN, and make all kinds of interesting observations.  But you can't conclude that women can't suffer a relationship with a "lesser" man based on the fact that Dagny and Eddie never hooked up.  There is no shortcut to learning about people; you have to observe real people.

This is a straw man argument. No one here, least of all myself, has advocated over-generalizing, nor seeks a shortcut to understanding, nor suggests observing literature in lieu of observing real people. These are not the actual points being made (which points, incidentally, are more in line with your first sentence above, rather than those that follow).

Now, I have a question for you, Mr. Speicher: is your assertion based on the fact that fiction qua fiction opens a doorway into understanding psychology, or that I included Ayn Rand in it?

First, my supported argument (not "assertion") mentioned an "adjunct to your learning" not a "doorway into understanding psychology" itself. I stated rather explicitly that "Clearly one studies a technical text to learn a science, art not being didactic in nature."

Second, though I personally consider Ayn Rand's work to be the epitome of literature, the argument I made certainly did not rest solely on her work. Aside from the many fascinating psychological characterizations in great works of Romantic literature, the potential exists even in some particular Naturalistic novel (which school by its nature is antithetical to presenting a real psychology), that one can still learn a great deal about a character's psychology (as Ayn Rand points out in The Art of Fiction, p. 26). And immensely better so for great Romantic works.

Do you think you can learn about real people by considering the relationships of two characters from Catch 22 or Cryptonomicon  or Time Enough For Love?

Why do you pick from that lot? Why not, going with some of Ayn Rand's psychological examples (if flawed) in The Art of Fiction and The Romantic Manifesto, such as Crime and Punishment, Cyrano de Bergerac, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, , Les Miserables, or even the movie Here Comes Mr. Jordan?

Ayn Rand's understanding of people is fantastic, and I'm thoroughly an Objectivist, but that doesn't mean that I try to make my relationship with my boyfriend identical to Dagny's with Rearden.

But no one here has asked you to do so. I am honestly perplexed as to why you think statements like this are relevant to the actual issue.

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Let me get very specific regarding my general question by focusing on one concrete example: Dagny and Eddie.  Dagny has relationships with Francisco, Rearden, and Galt while over several years, Eddie remains "just a friend" -- albeit a very good friend.  Why?  Is there something that Dagny, qua woman, needs from her romantic partners that is lacking in Eddie? 

 

I think this is an issue of feminine psychology, so it is not something I can answer by introspection.  I really would like to hear from some of the women on the forum and how they assess this topic.

I haven't ever dated someone younger than me, but I think it is better if he has as much or more "life experience". If a lot of life experience is crammed into fewer years--like he left home at age 15 to start his own business, and traveled the world, that might make up for an age difference. :D

Success is less significant. What seems important to me is that he sees the woman's success as a good thing, and isn't threatened by it. That is mainly a character issue.

I think the issue of intelligence is much more crucial to being able to look up to a man than things like age or success. I know I couldn't be in love with a man who is less intelligent than I am. This is what really makes the idea of Dagny and Eddie together seem impossible.

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------------------- 

Let me get very specific regarding my general question by focusing on one concrete example: Dagny and Eddie.  Dagny has relationships with Francisco, Rearden, and Galt while over several years, Eddie remains "just a friend" -- albeit a very good friend.  Why?  Is there something that Dagny, qua woman, needs from her romantic partners that is lacking in Eddie? 

 

I think this is an issue of feminine psychology, so it is not something I can answer by introspection.  I really would like to hear from some of the women on the forum and how they assess this topic.

I think that the evidence why such a relationship between Eddie and Dagny wouldn't work is in the story. Eddie directly works for Dagny; i.e., he is her subordinate. I think that fact alone would kill any romantic relationship. Maybe if Eddie had worked in another department; but then she wouldn't know him that well.

Would anyone want to work for the woman he was having a relationship with? I don't think it would work for me. I'm curious if anyone has experience with this.

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Let me get very specific regarding my general question by focusing on one concrete example: Dagny and Eddie.  Dagny has relationships with Francisco, Rearden, and Galt while over several years, Eddie remains "just a friend" -- albeit a very good friend.  Why?  Is there something that Dagny, qua woman, needs from her romantic partners that is lacking in Eddie?

I think the answer lies in Ayn Rand's view of femininity and love. Specifically, her view of the essence of femininity as hero-worship, and that we fall in love with a sense of life.

Eddie, as a childhood friend, was once asked by Dagny why he likes Francisco, and Eddie's answer was "He makes me feel safe." And, as an adult, we see Eddie as feeling centered in life when in the presence of Dagny: "Eddie Willers followed her to her office. Whenever she returned, he felt as if the world became clear, simple, easy to face—and he forgot his moments of shapeless apprehension."

Eddie, though a decent man, is not a personal object of hero-worship for Dagny because he does not embody enough of the masculine spirit to complement the level of Dagny's own femininity. Francisco makes Dagny feel feminine for exactly the same reason that the presence of Francisco makes Eddie feel safe. And Dagny's love for Francisco is tied to the same sense of life that Francisco exhibited as a child, a sense of life that was but a pale reflection in Eddie. Francisco exuded a masculine confidence that Eddie lacked, which is why Eddie felt safe in Francisco's presence.

As to Rearden and Galt, I think the same distinction from Eddie applies as the distinction between Francisco and Eddie.

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If I am always grasping things more quickly than he does, if I am the one who has to explain things that he doesn't understand--I couldn't really look up to him. I couldn't feel such intense admiration that I am swept off my feet.

I definitely can feel admiration for good character traits in someone less intelligent, and skills and abilities that I may not even have. But that admiration isn't on the level of being in love.

I also think a certain degree of connection would be missing--like there would be part of me he didn't understand.

Eddie, though a decent man, is not a personal object of hero-worship for Dagny because he does not embody enough of the masculine spirit to complement the level of Dagny's own femininity. Francisco makes Dagny feel feminine for exactly the same reason that the presence of Francisco makes Eddie feel safe. And Dagny's love for Francisco is tied to the same sense of life that Francisco exhibited as a child, a sense of life that was but a pale reflection in Eddie. Francisco exuded a masculine confidence that Eddie lacked, which is why Eddie felt safe in Francisco's presence. 

Do you think, if Eddie had had more masculine confidence, Dagny might have loved him back? If I try to imagine a more confident Eddie, I think of someone like Pat Logan, the railroad engineer--competent in his work and sure of what he can do. But I can't imagine Dagny in love with Pat Logan.

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If I am always grasping things more quickly than he does, if I am the one who has to explain things that he doesn't understand--I couldn't really look up to him.  I couldn't feel such intense admiration that I am swept off my feet.

That man sounds more like a dunce than someone who, as you previously indicated, is just "less intelligent" than you.

I definitely can feel admiration for good character traits in someone less intelligent, and skills and abilities that I may not even have.  But that admiration isn't on the level of being in love.

I do not want to put words into your mouth, but I would like to better understand your perspective. Are you saying that a man's high intelligence is what will sweep you off your feet and cause you to be in love?

Eddie, though a decent man, is not a personal object of hero-worship for Dagny because he does not embody enough of the masculine spirit to complement the level of Dagny's own femininity. Francisco makes Dagny feel feminine for exactly the same reason that the presence of Francisco makes Eddie feel safe. And Dagny's love for Francisco is tied to the same sense of life that Francisco exhibited as a child, a sense of life that was but a pale reflection in Eddie. Francisco exuded a masculine confidence that Eddie lacked, which is why Eddie felt safe in Francisco's presence. 

Do you think, if Eddie had had more masculine confidence, Dagny might have loved him back? If I try to imagine a more confident Eddie, I think of someone like Pat Logan, the railroad engineer--competent in his work and sure of what he can do. But I can't imagine Dagny in love with Pat Logan.

Confidence is just one aspect of what I called "the masculine spirit to complement the level of Dagny's own femininity." In fact, I see confidence as a consequence of a high level of self-esteem. Note I also referred to Francisco having a "sense of life that was but a pale reflection in Eddie." In a manner, then, that sense of life is the total integration and reflection of the man. As when we hear Dagny thinking: "She found the clean, brilliant sense of life as she wanted it in her work. Once, Francisco had given her the same sense, a feeling that belonged with her work and in her world." I think that that sense of life is what Dagny fell in love with.

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Jenbryn's point about a man needing to be wholly independent is, I think, correct. A man who is dependant on me in any way, whether it's money or opinions, is very unappealing. If I'm going to have a romantic partner, then the only way in which he should need me is romantically.

On intelligence; I don't know if it is universally necessary to women, I find it necessary. This is because I derive a great deal of enjoyment from intellectual conversation/pursuits, much more so than others things that I do. If he weren't on par with me I would get bored quick and exclude him from my intellectual interests, which feels too much like cheating. I have fallen in love over a man's intelligence before, was swept flat, and it was only on discovering more about his sense of life that I grew disinterested.

Intelligence, I have found, is a lot like beauty, ambition, and other traits. They are important inasmuch as the individual values them. What do you guys think, are these traits universal?

~Aurelia

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On intelligence; I don't know if it is universally necessary to women, I find it necessary. This is because I derive a great deal of enjoyment from intellectual conversation/pursuits, much more so than others things that I do. If he weren't on par with me I would get bored quick and exclude him from my intellectual interests, which feels too much like cheating. I have fallen in love over a man's intelligence before, was swept flat, and it was only on discovering more about his sense of life that I grew disinterested.

What should be attractive, what is attractive, and what is optional are intriguing topics.

A question for anyone: Is intelligence the same as having intellectual pursuits?

Further, is responding positively to either trait a romantic response?

I don't think so. A young man might be highly intelligent (that is, able to form abstractions in particular, and mentally connect things in general). But through circumstance of birth, he might be poorly educated and he might, at the moment of meeting him, have very poor grammar.

He might choose a career that doesn't require advanced education or perfect grammar. For example, he might gain a mechanical skill and start his own business and financially become a relative success, considering his youth. But he might have no intellectual interests. Would he be unattractive as a man?

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I definitely can feel admiration for good character traits in someone less intelligent, and skills and abilities that I may not even have.  But that admiration isn't on the level of being in love.

If I am understanding them correctly, I agree with Aurelia and Jenbryn.

Psychologically, I, too, would not be comfortable in a romantic relationship when I consider myself more intelligent than the man. Perhaps this is because I am pursuing an academic profession, so it is very important to me personally that I can discuss intellectual issues with him. And yet, it seems to be more than just discussing philosophical issues, because it is also tied up to my desire to have a man to look up to. I wouldn't want to be in the position of teacher to my husband, because it would feel too much like my relationship to a child/ young adult or student.

This is why Ayn Rand's affair always made sense to me. As much as Frank O'Conner shared her sense of life, and given her unparalleled genius, it makes sense to me that she would feel the need to be with a man who she could look up to intellectually.

In the past, intelligence has always been one of the first things I am attracted to in a man. As Aurelia noted, this often disappears quickly when you discover the guy's sense of life. Looking back on this now, I think the virtue I was searching for was rationality (and confusing intelligence and rationality.) I haven't come to a conclusion on this issue yet, and criticisms of the above are welcome.

P.S. on a side note related to the question first posed in the thread, I am two years older than Alex, and this has not caused any problems whatsoever for us.

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I do not want to put words into your mouth, but I would like to better understand your perspective. Are you saying that a man's high intelligence is what will sweep you off your feet and cause you to be in love? 

Confidence is just one aspect of what I called "the masculine spirit to complement the level of Dagny's own femininity." In fact, I see confidence as a consequence of a high level of self-esteem. Note I also referred to Francisco having a "sense of life that was but a pale reflection in Eddie." In a manner, then, that sense of life is the total integration and reflection of the man. As when we hear Dagny thinking: "She found the clean, brilliant sense of life as she wanted it in her work. Once, Francisco had given her the same sense, a feeling that belonged with her work and in her world." I think that that sense of life is what Dagny fell in love with.

I think you are right that Dagny fell in love with Francisco's sense of life. But the fact that he was brilliant helped!

I have fallen in love over a man's intelligence before, was swept flat, and it was only on discovering more about his sense of life that I grew disinterested.

I have also experienced this, so I would not say that I fall in love with a man's intelligence. But, like Aurelia, I also get bored when it isn't there. There needs to be both, I think--sense of life connection and equal intelligence. One without the other is not enough.

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What should be attractive, what is attractive, and what is optional are intriguing topics.

A question for anyone: Is intelligence the same as having intellectual pursuits?

Further, is responding positively to either trait a romantic response?

I don't think so. A young man might be highly intelligent (that is, able to form abstractions in particular, and mentally connect things in general). But through circumstance of birth, he might be poorly educated and he might, at the moment of meeting him, have very poor grammar.

He might choose a career that doesn't require advanced education or perfect grammar. For example, he might gain a mechanical skill and start his own business and financially become a relative success, considering his youth. But he might have no intellectual interests. Would he be unattractive as a man?

You are right to draw a distinction between intelligence (mental competence) and education or intellectual pursuits. They are not the same, as you indicate in your example. In light of this, I would like to clarify that I meant intelligence, as it is the trait that would allow me to converse interestedly with a person. For me to love a man I must enjoy speaking with him, he must capture my interest with his intelligence more than any other man.

What do you mean by a 'romantic response'? Is a romantic response indicative of a necessary trait? If so, then I would call intelligence a romantic response.

~Aurelia

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What do you mean by a 'romantic response'? Is a romantic response indicative of a necessary trait?

Yes, a romantic response, per se, is indicative of seeing the trait of "-inity" (masculinity or femininity). A (heterosexual) man has a romantic response to the femininity of a woman he meets. Identifying the fact of a romantic response is not the same thing as saying, "This person, to whom I have a romantic response, is suitable for a long-term romantic relationship."

I might meet a woman to whom I have a romantic response -- and subsequently discover she is not someone I would ever consider further. But that lack of suitability does not negate the original romantic response. I have seen this countless times in women I know and trust. For example, a woman might meet a very masculine male at a party and respond immediately with a slight intake of breath and unconsciously placing her hand to her breast. After talking with him awhile, she might tell a woman friend, "He's totally unsuitable -- but ...!"

If so, then I would call [a positive response to] intelligence a romantic response.

I have taken the liberty to add words in square brackets. If I have missed the mark, tell me. If I have not missed the mark, then I disagree with your statement. A romantic response is to the "-inity," but the response to intelligence or professional success or whatever is a personal response that might enhance the romantic response but doesn't cause it.

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A romantic response is to the "-inity," but the response to intelligence or professional success or whatever is a personal response that might enhance the romantic response but doesn't cause it.

So then, if a trait of masculinity or femininity (as the case may be) causes a romantic response, what are these traits? Are they exclusive to either femininity or masculinity, so that intelligence (which either gender may posses) cannot be one?

If I am understanding you correctly (and please correct me if I'm not) a romantic response to masculinity is characteristic of feminines (and vice versa). So a romantic response is a universal response to the opposite gender. By that I mean, that if a man were to display a masculine trait all the feminines would have a romantic response to his (or his masculinity).

Then a romantic response is necessary but not always sufficient for a person to fall in love. A person may have other requirements which are not universal to the other members of his/her gender.

~Aurelia

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