Updated: March 18, 2014 4:15PM
Does an Ivy League education mean you’re smart? Not necessarily.
SAMANTHA: I flew to Latin America for a vacation last winter and sat next to a woman who immediately bragged about being an Ivy League grad.
She kept complaining about her biggest problem— her clothes getting wrinkled. We were arriving after dark, and she said she was going to pick up a rental car and immediately drive to another city “two hours away” where she had a hotel reservation.
She had never been in that country before and didn’t speak a word of Spanish. I had actually been to the city she was talking about. It was on the other side of a mountain range and a lot more than two hours away under the best of circumstances. What appears to be a road on the maps is actually more of a switchback donkey trail, crumbling away on the side of the mountains. If it’s raining up there, which is does frequently, it’s life-threatening.
Once you navigate the trail and get to the city, you encounter a labyrinth. The streets wind round in circles, and nothing is marked. Even the locals often get lost there.
I tried to convince her that for her own safety she should spend the first night in a hotel near the airport and make her over-the-mountains journey during the day when she could at least see where she was going, and might actually find an English-speaking person who could help her with directions if she got lost.
She was totally dismissive, insisting that she had already paid for everything in advance and knew much more about everything than I did.
I’m sure she was ultimately OK since I didn’t read anything in the news about an American woman sliding off the side of a cliff or anything, but I’m sure she got a lot more adventure than she bargained for.
We recently heard from a woman who complained that her Harvard degree was intimidating to men. Was it really the degree that was the turn-off?
GRETCHEN: I would ask her to try to remember where her last five dates went to school, what their degrees were, where they currently work and what their position are. If she can’t, then there’s a good chance she’s spending too much time talking about herself and her accomplishments. That would be the turn-off.
I have a master’s degree and a six-figure salary. My spouse has a couple of years of college and has rarely made more money than me. In fact, he has often made a whole lot less.
But you know what? He’s extremely intelligent and has loads of common sense and ingenuity. He’s more than able to hold his own with my Harvard-educated father.
The difference in our education, careers and salaries isn’t an issue in our relationship because we don’t make it one. He’s very proud of my accomplishments and I’m proud of his.
I think this woman is leading with her qualifications. She’s treating a date like a job interview. She needs to cool it, not because it’s intimidating, but because it’s boorish.
Did opposites attract in your relationship? Or repel? Send your tale, along with your questions, problems and rants to firstname.lastname@example.org. And check out my new website askcheryl.net.