The results of a recent study suggest men like the idea of dating smart women, but in reality, it's something of a threat to masculinity.
A team from University at Buffalo, California Lutheran University and University of Texas at Austin, carried out the research to establish how “interpersonal attraction may be shaped by one’s psychological distance from a target”.
In one instance, 105 men were given a hypothetical scenario in which women performed both better and worse than they did, before being asked to rate them as potential romantic interests.
The paper says “men formed favourable impressions and showed greater interest in women who displayed more (versus less) intelligence than themselves”.
However, the subjects “distanced themselves” when faced with meeting and interacting with the women who had outperformed them, and "tended to rate her as less attractive, and showed less desire to exchange contact information or plan a date with her.”
The study, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, qualified the results by saying more study would be needed, and obviously the sample group is small, but went as far as to say it appeared “feelings of diminished masculinity accounted for men’s decreased attraction toward women”.
Presumably the participants then realised two of the three authors of the study were female and ran screaming for the hills.