The Magic Formula for Sexual Chemistry: Are Beauty and Brains Too Much to Ask?

Sasha Brown-Worsham

What makes your heart go pitter-patter? Is it the sonnets a Princeton-educated lawyer writes on a piece of recycled paper, or the rock hard pecs a man can bounce when he takes off his shirt?

Or is it some combination of the two?

Can "smart" and "hot" co-exist?

So many, many questions when it comes to the laws of attraction.

My friend R says people only get one quality or the other. He says beautiful people never had to learn because everything was handed to them. He has a point.

Take someone like Gia Allemand, resident hottie on the Bachelor Pad and former Maxim model. She tricked us into thinking she was so smart last Monday night, scheming to stay on top in the house; but then the truth was revealed when she gave her rose to Wes, the country-crooning, Jillian-duping fame-seeker from three seasons ago.

Maybe it's easier to believe that we only get one -- brains or beauty. It just seems fairer somehow ...

Look at Jessica Simpson and Gisele Bundchen. If these two beauties didn't make stupid gaffes, what would the rest of us make fun of?

Sadly, I don't agree. To me, someone can't be truly hot unless they are smart as well. And I don't mean smart in a "I read a book once back in college" way. I mean truly smart: intellectually curious, passionate about certain topics, well-read. These are the things that really do it for me.

My husband and I had an argument about this the other day that started as a debate over what first attracted us to one another.

It was my height that made you like me, he insisted,

And he was right. Kind of, anyway. Do I like a taller man? OK, yes. I'll be honest. But I also loved his passion for his graduate work, his knowledge of esoteric facts, and his ambition.

Did he like my boobs? Well, yes.

But he also likes my drive and discipline, my ability to win at Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit, and the fact that I have read a lot of Russian literature (OK, maybe not that so much).

What attracts us to another person is a complicated mess, a personal algorithm we all have for balancing the visually appealing with the intellectually stimulating and voila! Sexual chemistry.

My husband was both intelligent and visually appealing for me. When someone is merely visually appealing, it's nice, but when they have passion and intelligence, it adds a level of depth that makes them even more attractive. Striking that perfect balance? Pure gold. Here are a few who do:

  • Matt Damon: This Harvard-educated hottie may have dropped out of college before he got his degree, but anyone this witty, funny, and well-informed is smart, indeed.
  • George Clooney: There is no one who makes me weaker at the knees than the salt-and-pepper-haired Clooney, and he's smart to boot.
  • Jon Stewart: Witty, wonderful, hilarious Jon Stewart. I hear he's short, but I ignore that and focus only on the sexy, of which there is plenty.
  • Ashley Judd: An actress with perfect features -- and a degree from Harvard.
  • Natalie Portman: Also a Harvard grad, Portman is famously studious and serious. Not to mention stunning.
  • Jodie Foster: Fluent in French and proficient in both German and Italian, Foster is an amazing actress, beautiful, and also graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale.
  • Brooke Shields: An actress and model, she graduated from Princeton University.
  • Elisabeth Shue: A beautiful actress who also has a degree from Harvard in government.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio: Famous both for being adorable and for being environmentally aware.
  • Cate Blanchett: An Australian actress known for taking daring roles at whom I could stare all day.
  • David Duchovny: Though his PhD from Yale is yet unfinished, his beauty grows more by the hour.

Have I made my point yet?

Do you think beauty and intelligence can co-exist?

Image via mozzercork/Flickr

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